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Official Review by Scott Salomon, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The 2013 version of the Russell Athletic Bowl was the last to be played in the Florida Citrus Bowl. The 2014 game will be played at a new facility that is being built adjacent to the present location. Construction is to start in January 2014 on a new stadium that is supposed to be state of the art.
The time is right for the stadium to be razed. The facility is old, worn down and clearly in need of a facelift. This is reminiscent of the old Orange Bowl in its final years, but much worse.
The stadium is also located in the seedy part of downtown Orlando and not in the neighborhoods that offer theme parks. Walking to and from the stadium from parking lots near the stadium is a chore that one should not take lightly. It can be a dangerous walk, and should not be attempted alone for a night game.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are local flavors of food offered in the stadium and the food is quite appetizing. The value is good considering it is a bowl game. There are sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and other snacky stadium-type foods. The gastric sensations would not be let down on this night.
The atmosphere inside the stadium, was phenomenal. Both teams (Miami and Louisville) traveled well with their fans and the stadium was about evenly matched with the schools' fandom. Miami probably had a few more fans due to the proximity of Miami to Orlando, but each school was represented well.
The teams cheered at the appropriate times and you could tell that Louisville meant business with their fan contingency. The bands were both loud and put on a good halftime show. UM's Band of the Hour gave its usual rocking performance and Louisville was equally spectacular.
If only the game was as good as the crowd and as the bands.
This is not a neighborhood to go walking around in either before or after the game. One should walk with a purpose and not stay any longer than absolutely necessary. This is a terrible locale and not one for single females or young children. The neighborhood is so bad that I did not use my parking pass and opted for the media hotel shuttle service so that I could be delivered to and from the stadium right in front of the facility. I would not risk walking through the streets of downtown Orlando to get to my car in the dark.
The fans were present in full force for both schools. Both schools should be proud of their representation. In the second half, Miami had nothing to cheer about, but Louisville's Card Nation could be heard singing and cheering throughout the game. They had a lot to cheer about in Teddy Bridgewater's final game in college.
Parking is terrible as it is either far from the stadium grounds or it is very expensive to park on someone's driveway or private parking lot. The cheapest spot that I saw was $20 and that was being blocked in on a driveway. Tailgaters had to pay premium dollars for places to tailgate as there is no general parking area available. However, it is a risky proposition walking in and around that stadium at night.
There were plenty of tickets available at the game, so you did not have to spend $77 through the schools' websites to get seats. As game time approached you could buy tickets for as little as $10, which was cheaper than the parking. This was a horrible game at a horrible location. If one was lucky to get a ticket for $10 it was worth the money. If one paid much more than that, it would not have been such a good ROI.
Being that this was a bowl game, many fans travelled from south Florida or Louisville to get to the game. That would make financial matters worse as travel costs come into play. This was not a game in a location for someone looking for a return on their investment, unless the game was a footnote to the trip and you wanted to take the family to the parks and theme related facilities that Orlando has to offer.
What other game could you go to and also take in Walt Disney World and Epcot? Where else can you attend a game and also go to Universal Studios? Orlando has plenty of extras available for its tourists and that includes bowl game visitors. The teams went to the theme parks and so did their fans.
Member Review by collegiatestdms on Feb 09, 2012
The Russell Athletic Bowl is played in the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, which also hosts the Capital One Bowl. The Russell Athletic Bowl is a matchup between a Big East team (or Notre Dame) and an ACC team.
The stadium itself was built in 1936, with the last seating addition being added in 1989 to bring official capacity to 65,438. However, they often add temporary bleachers in the north end zone so game attendance figures can be over 70,000 fans.
The stadium is scheduled to undergo a $175 million renovation, but those plans have been delayed due to funding issues with the City of Orlando. The renovation delay is a real shame because the stadium has never been renovated and upgrades are sorely needed.
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